The South African government has withdrawn its support for the Miss South Africa pageant following the organisers’ “disregard of advice against partaking in the Miss Universe pageant,” as a statement by the Department of Sports, Art and Culture outlines. The pageant is scheduled to be held in Israel in December 2021.
“Following unsuccessful consultations initiated by the Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture, it has proven difficult to persuade the Miss SA pageant organisers to reconsider their decision to partake in the Miss Universe event.
“What, during initial consultations appeared like engaging, constructive and progressive discussions, was later met with an unpleasant demeanour that is intransigent and lacking appreciation of the potential negative impact of such a decision on the reputation and future of a young black woman,” the statement read.
The department further explained that the atrocities committed by Israel against Palestinians are well documented, “and Government, as the legitimate representative of the people of South Africa, cannot in good conscience associate itself with such.”
The Miss SA pageant organisers were referred to Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu after his visit to the area, and after indicating that Israel was guilty of the apartheid treatment of Palestinians, Tutu said, “Their humiliation is familiar to all black South Africans who were corralled and harassed and insulted and assaulted by the security forces of the apartheid government.”
Minister Nathi Mthethwa shared her views by saying ““If anything, by withdrawing, Miss South Africa’s reputation and overall standing will be far more advanced in South Africa and internationally in comparison to a once off event that can prove disastrous to her future and public standing as a young, black woman.”
“Our first preference was to try and find each other so as to issue a joint media statement. This has regrettably been unsuccessful, hence the decision now to publicly distance Government and the people of South Africa from Miss SA pageant organiser’s stance on this matter”, said Minister Mthethwa.
“But even so, we still hope some common sense will prevail in the interest of the reigning queen, Lalela Mswane; and we remain open for discussions in that regard,” she adds.
Miss SA faces critique for participation in Miss Universe pageant in Israel